CLT Toolbox’s Plans: Cashed-Up Start-Up Eyes Timber Takeover

The Australian tech start up is now investing into America and Europe - the world's largest mass timber markets.

Tue 21 May 24


CLT Toolbox has raised $1 million in its latest round of funding, adding to the $1.5 million it raised last year, according to SmartCompany. Wood Central understands the new funding will bolster the software group’s expansion into the United States and Europe – as the business continues to push to make mass timber mainstream worldwide.

“Our software architecture is designed to adapt flexibly to different geographies, with the availability of design methods and suppliers depending on the user’s location,” Adam Jones, CLT Toolbox Founder and CEO, told SmartCompany, adding that outside unit conversion, the startup’s platform is globally translatable. 

“One of our core values is to solve a problem once and reuse the solution many times,” Mr Jones said. “From the outset, our software has been built to leverage design methods from around the world, making them accessible to everyone.”

Introducing CLT Toolbox, the revolutionary mass timber design software simplifies the engineering process and promotes sustainable building practices. Developed with support from leading mass timber suppliers, this state-of-the-art software is changing the game for the construction industry. Footage courtesy of @clttoolbox.

The new investment comes just six months after CLT Toolbox’s original seed funding round, which valued the startup at $8.5 million. At the time, Wood Central revealed that Bluescope was among a consortium of investors backing the technology, which removes ‘bottlenecks’ and helps building professionals design buildings using mass timber construction systems.

The latest cash injection includes contributions from climate-focused VC firm Giant Leap, Archangel Ventures, Adrian Hondros, Ecotone Ventures, and angel investor Harrison Rose.

CLT Toolbox’s vow to eliminate embodied carbon from construction 

In March 2023, Wood Central revealed that CLT Toolbox was set to shake up the building and construction industry. At the time, Adam Jones, founder and CEO of CLT Toolbox, told Wood Central that “cross-laminated timber is just the beginning,” adding that “the state-of-the-art technology can be applied to all timber products.”

Mass timber is on a massive upswing, with a new US reporting that timber-based construction could surge between 25-fold and 40-fold over the next 50 years. Footage courtesy of @pbsnewshour.

That was then, and 14 months later, Mr Jones and co-founder Ringo Thomas are delivering on that promise—with a range of software installations being rolled out all the time.

According to Mr Jones, the problem stems from a lack of education. Despite a surge in interest in mass timber products, there is a global shortage of structural engineers with knowledge of timber available to sign off on the material. For example, “In Australia, we have about 10,000 structural engineers and only 30 of them are timber specialists,” Mr Jones told the AFR last year. 

However, the problem isn’t limited to engineers—with knowledge among architects and designers also in short supply. “University curriculums often struggle to keep pace with rapid innovation,” Mr Jones said, telling SmartCompany that “undergraduate degrees are (still) primarily focused on concrete and steel, with only a small portion dedicated to timber design.” 

“As a result, most universities are not fully equipping the next generation of structural engineers and other professions to design structures using sustainable building materials like mass timber.”

That’s why CLT Toolbox exists: to provide a digital infrastructure for designers and the supply chain to effectively adopt mass timber solutions.

UN Blueprint: Replacing Steel and Concrete with Timber will save 40% of emission

Last year, Wood Central reported that a new blueprint published by the UN Environment Programme and the Yale Centre for Ecosystems and Architecture claimed that substituting steel, concrete and aluminium for timber-based solutions is critical to lowering global emissions.

Speaking to SmartCompany, Mr Jones said CLT Toolbox measures its impact in reducing emissions by using low embodied carbon timber, biogenic carbon sequestration benefits, and the cost savings from eradicating concrete alternatives.

“It’s actually mind-blowing when you crunch the numbers on the impact that choosing mass timber over concrete can have,” Mr Jones said, adding that “sometimes, it all boils down to the willingness and proactivity of one individual in a design meeting who decides to be an enabler rather than a blocker.”

The UN reports that thanks to rapid urbanisation every day the world adds buildings equivalent to the size of Paris. (Photo Credit: wirestock via Envato Elements)
The UN reports that thanks to rapid urbanisation, every day, the world adds buildings equivalent to the size of Paris. (Photo Credit: wire stock via Envato Elements)

Addressing concerns around sustainability, Mr Jones said that all the suppliers on the CLT Toolbox platform have certified products from forests accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). 

“This certification ensures that the trees are harvested sustainably, with a commitment to replanting, balancing environmental, economic, and social needs,” Mr Jones said, arguing that certified timber products are one of the few renewable structural materials that can be used at scale.

“We can grow our buildings just like we grow our food. The chemical process of timber production sequesters CO2 rather than emitting it, making our buildings akin to natural carbon sequestration facilities.”

CLT Toolbox: Looking beyond Mass Timber?

As for the future, CLT Toolbox is now eyeing expansion and is looking to host other sustainable building materials beyond mass timber, including cross-laminated bamboo.

“Our long-term vision is to become a platform for sustainable building materials. Currently, mass timber has the most mature supply chain poised to drive change in construction,” Mr Jones said.

Global architects are already using bamboo in award winning projects, however innovation and new research is allowing for greater application of the materials all over the world. (Photo Credit: Wanderskyy, Kevin Mirc, Bianca Blajovan, Nora Brown, Symbiosis Studio)
Global architects are already using bamboo in award-winning projects. However, innovation and new research allow greater application of the materials worldwide. (Photo Credit: Wanderskyy, Kevin Mirc, Bianca Blajovan, Nora Brown, Symbiosis Studio)

“In the future, we hope to see new products like laminated bamboo emerge, and we aim to provide the infrastructure to help bring these new sustainable materials into the mainstream.”

CLT Toolbox also plans to leverage design automation and kit-of-parts design to improve efficiency and sustainability in the construction industry. “This will also allow us to engage more with key decision-makers in projects, such as architects and developers, enabling us to influence sustainable building practices from the top down,” Mr Jones said.


  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


Related Articles